CMS Announces Updated Schedule for Transparency in Payments to Physicians

February 18, 2014 02:17 pm News Staff

Drug and device manufacturers are preparing to submit the first round of data on payments to physicians to CMS as part of requirements outlined in the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which calls for increased transparency regarding financial arrangements between medical companies and physicians.

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The Sunshine Act requires medical device, pharmaceutical and other companies to report payments or gifts to health care professionals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by these individuals. The threshold for reporting is $10. Speaker fees for accredited CME programs were exempted from the reporting requirements at the request of AAFP and other groups, and incidental items, such as pens and notepads, do not have to be reported.

CMS now has clarified the timeline regarding when data on payments can be reviewed( and when those data will be publicly available online. According to the agency, data will be submitted by vendors to CMS in two phases. The first phase begins Feb. 18 and ends March 31. This phase requires vendors to register with CMS and submit corporate profile information and aggregate 2013 payment data.

The second phase will begin in May and continue for at least 30 days. This phase will require drug and device manufacturers to submit detailed payment information and legal confirmation of the data's accuracy. Physicians are not required to take any action during either of these two phases.

Submission of all data on transfers of value that occurred between Aug. 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014, must be completed by Aug. 1, 2014. After that date, physicians will have 45 days to review and correct any inaccuracies, but CMS has not yet outlined how it will handle the correction process.

Later this year, physicians will receive instructions on how to log on to the CMS website to review data. After the review period is complete, reports will be posted and publicly available no later than Sept. 30, 2014.